Writing Matters: Creative Writing Activities
Activity 3 - Invention
"To create consists precisely in not making useless combinations and in making those which are useful and which are only a small minority. Invention is discernment, choice."
- Henri Poincaré, "Mathematical Creation,"
in The Creative Process: A Symposium, 1965, p. 35
Having learned about the first two aspects of the creative process, information and inspiration, students will proceed to the third component, invention. They will use what they have discovered about the writers' information and inspiration to invent their own creative response to the work of an important Canadian writer.
Have students choose one of the following options:
- Reflect upon any of the situations described in the excerpts found in the optional exercise "A Writer's Inspiration." Write your own creative or analytic response to the excerpt.
- Use the ideas you elaborated in Activity 2 and develop them into your own creative writing.
- Write a journal entry about your time searching through the Canadian Writers website. In your writing, reflect upon the impressions, positive and negative, that the writers have made upon you.
- Choose one of the following:
- Open the Urquhart "Manuscript Gallery" and find the description of the "Body of Man found in Whirlpool Rapids on Sunday July 21/1918 by Reddy Hill." From the clues listed in this description, recreate this person as you imagine him to be before he jumped into the rapids. Invent a story for this person, or any other person described in this diary or notebook. Consider writing a murder mystery with the lead question: Was it suicide?
- Open the Smart or the Garneau "Manuscript Gallery" and examine the journals, poetry and artwork. Then write a poetic response to one of the items in this gallery. Begin keeping a journal of your own, especially in response to some of the pieces you discover on the Canadian Writers website.
- Open the Lemelin "Manuscript Gallery" and examine the frontispiece drawing for an edition of Au pied de la pente douce. Create another ink drawing and title (in English, if you prefer) for this novel. Or find a script for one of Lemelin's radio or TV plays and argue why it should be rebroadcast. (Also, view the video excerpts on the Canadian Writers site or see if you can find some tapes of the Plouffe Family in your local video store.)
- Open the Blais or the Smart "Manuscript Gallery" and translate any page with artwork from one of the notebooks. Reflect on the relationship between Blais' or Smart's words and art, and consider how the art connects with the writing. (Notice that Blais uses both French and English in her notebooks.) Record some of Blais' or Smart's quotations, and keep a notebook of your own quotations in both English and French, or in any other language that you possess.
Optional Culminating Activity
Conclude this introductory study of the Canadian Writers site with a brief letter to all Canadian artists, dead or alive, either to thank them or to encourage them to donate their creative sources ("essences") to Library and Archives Canada. If it is true that the work creates the artist, it is equally true that the artist creates new life in us.